Emotional Intelligence: What is EQ?

Emotional Intelligence: What is EQ?

It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of head over heart – it is the unique intersection of both.
– Dan Caruso

Have you ever encountered a person that was just too book smart for their own good? How about having an excruciating conversation with someone because they don’t pick up on social cues? Perhaps you’ve interacted with someone who has no idea how they come across to others. Those are all examples of a lack of EQ and you can easily find it on a daily basis. 

What is Emotional Intelligence?
As our quote from Dan Caruso says, EQ is not something that competes against IQ. In combination, they make you the person that you are. IQ is set from birth. It’s not your intelligence, but your ability to learn. Barring a medical incident, your IQ doesn’t change from a high school student to a senior executive. Your EQ, however, is very pliable and you have a great influence on being able to grow and strengthen it. 

EQ is also not an aspect that a person can compensate for or outthink with IQ or pure action. Your spinal cord is attached to the back of your brain and sends all information through the limbic (emotional) part of your brain before it arrives at your rational part. Its an unavoidable skill set that you can influence or let it dictate your potential. 

The Impact of EQ
The funny thing about emotional intelligence is that is rarely discussed or taught formally, yet it significantly impacts the work that you do. Studies show that it can account for 58% of your performance no matter your job type. It’s the single biggest predictor for performance, leadership ability, and your personal excellence.  Here are a few of the many areas that grow in correlation to your growth in EQ:

  • Stress tolerance                           
  • Empathy
  • Presentation skills                       
  • Social skills
  • Decision-making skills                  
  • Trust
  • Flexibility                                       
  • Customer Service



EQ is so valuable that it is tied directly to your earning potential. The higher the EQ, the higher your potential for salary. People with a high EQ make an average of $29,000 more a year than those with low EQ. It pays to increase your EQ!

There are four main areas in emotional intelligence that help us increase our EQ. We’ll cover these in detail over the next four weeks.

Self-Awareness: This may be the most important piece and is the linchpin to success with the other three sections. In other words, you can’t be strong in the other sections without good self-awareness. 

Self-Management: This will cover how we handle disappointment, frustration, anger, change and problem-solving. 

Social Awareness: This will cover how to properly navigate those critical first moments while meeting someone new, listening, etiquette, and reading a room.

Relationship Management: This will cover how to handle feedback, how to show your emotions to others in the right way and in the right context as well as building trust. 

Increase your EQ to make yourself a stand out leader, a less stressful person and maybe put a little bit of extra money in your pocket as a result. 

Make a better tomorrow. 



The week after Christmas is a very unique week. You hopefully just celebrated the holiday with friends and family and we have the new year just around the corner. You’ve worked hard. Your team has worked hard. It’s time to celebrate!


Don’t let the moment pass you by
This happens so easily to leaders because we are constantly looking forward. You know it’s a missed opportunity when we think about it after the time to celebrate has passed. Build in the celebration time at the end of a project or time when your team really stepped up. Your team probably worked their tails off leading up to Christmas. That needs to be celebrated! If you have to ask the question “Should we celebrate this?” Then you probably should. 


Vary your celebration style
It’s important to vary your celebration style so that your team doesn’t lose their excitement and the event/activity becomes stale. A surprise pizza or donut party? Awesome! If you do that every Friday, by the end of the month the team is either tired of it, or it becomes expected and it’s not as exciting.  Switch it up. Maybe it’s a party and next time it’s a meet up somewhere. It could be restocking the fridge in the break area with drinks and frozen fun items. It could be as simple as a card or taking time to recognize a person in a group meeting. 


It doesn’t have to be expensive. 
Speaking of simple, it also doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor.  In the past, I would give out silly awards. One was called the “All that and a bag of chips award” that went to the person that did a great job for the week or on a project. It was a certificate I made on the computer with a bag of chips stapled to it. My friend, Lee Cockerell used to give out green tabasco awards. Why green and not red? Because green was different and the award went to people who thought differently, tried new things, or innovated a process in some way.  You don’t have to open up your wallet significantly everytime you want to celebrate a team win or recognize someone. 


Grab the moment, change it up and celebrate with your team. You’ll be investing in the team in a very meaningful and personal way. 

Make a better tomorrow. 

Leading those more tenured

Leading those more tenured

Leading those more tenured than yourself is a fun and challenging topic to master. The good news is that it is only temporary. You are eventually going to be old and someone younger will be your boss!

Here are some ways to win over those that are more tenured that yourself. 

Speak their language by knowing what is important to them. 
Oftentimes when there is a disconnect between a younger leader and older team member it is because the older person does not feel valued. Respect and acknowledgment of tenure and contribution are very important to this group. I’ve seen this first hand with leaders that struggled leading people that have been with a company nearly as long as the leader has been alive. Once the leader focused on bringing the person alongside them as a partner and showed appreciation for their contribution and loyalty, things turned around. 

Be humble, honest and listen. 
This can be tough. You may feel like you need to come across like you know what you are talking about, even if you don’t. Besides, you don’t want to come across as a weak leader to those that have been around a long time. 

Avoid the ego trap that you should know it all. Instead, be humble in your leadership and seek the guidance and expertise of those that have been around. Be honest about not knowing the answer and truly listen and learn from others in the organization. 

Be caring but still be open to debate. 
There is no doubt that the older ones on your team have something to learn from you. You were picked to lead for a reason! Treat your team with care and empathy, and remain brave when it comes to willingness to debate and teach the more tenured person. Just because they are older, doesn’t mean they don’t have things to work on as well. 

Remember to treat those more tenured with respect and value their contribution. 

Make a better tomorrow.

Know your limits

Know your limits

We are officially into the holiday season now! It’s a time of joy, excitement and also the time that we become the most stressed and overloaded. We take on a little too much, just as our work, school, and home life are picking up too because of the timing of the year. The end result is a frazzled and fatigued person by the end of December.  We’ll dive into how your personality plays a role in overreaching your limits and some of the signs that you are currently past your limits.

Your personality can work against you. 
Are you a person who likes to get things done, and be known as the first in, last out type of worker? You likely have a leading factor for pushing yourself past your limits. Pushing yourself to the max may do more harm than good not only to you but to the thing that you are working on.

You may have a retriever personality. It’s the pleaser in you. You hate to say no and really enjoy helping others. It’s great to help people out! The caution here is that the lack of saying no may turn into a case of being overloaded in a hurry if you aren’t careful.

Finally, there is the self-awareness piece. You don’t know your limits because you simply don’t know. You feel like you can take on something and then it ends up being much more than you thought it was. If this is you, do some research before taking on the task or project.

Signs of overload
1. You have become more dismissive and confrontational to coworkers and family members. The overload has worn away your buffer in interpersonal skills and can be seen by others.

2. Your body hurts. It can manifest itself in odd ways. I once had a twitch in my right eye for months because I was overloaded and stressed. For others, it can range from an oddly placed back pain, hip issue or itchy skin.

3. You start blowing appointments.  Perhaps it’s not a full-blown miss. Maybe you are known as the early arrival person and suddenly you are barely making it on time or sometimes late. For some, it is truly missing appointments in your calendar, both personally and professionally.

4. You pull back socially. You find yourself more reclusive and not as outgoing as you were. For the extroverts, your colleagues will see this quickly. For the introverts, this could be a dangerous path that leads to isolationism.
Know the symptoms, when to say no to others and keep a good gauge on yourself to know when you’ve hit your limit.
Make a better tomorrow. 

Intentional in Diversity

Intentional in Diversity

Strength lies in differences, not similarities.
-Stephen Covey


I love my church and how diverse it is. Its got a great mix of races, education, life experience, and various backgrounds. You may have a guy that grew up on the south side of Atlanta who is sitting beside a member of our church motorcycle club who is sitting beside a retired couple.

Diversity is a key piece to keeping your business and life perspective relevant. This became very evident to me as I led a business in Houston, TX  for a time. I couldn’t truly connect with my community if I’m in a heavily Latino area and the vast majority of my team consists of young white girls. Your team should match the demographics of your customers. Have a look at your own team. Do they all look the “same”? Would your guests say that you have a diverse team?

You may have to look for it. 
When I was teaching hiring managers about the expectations of diversity, I would hear questions along the lines of, “I’m not getting any diversity in my applications! How can I do this if they aren’t applying?”

A fisherman wouldn’t expect to catch a trout in the ocean, nor would he expect to catch a tuna in a lake. In the same way, we shouldn’t expect to catch a diverse talent pool by fishing for applicants in the same area all of the time. Identify who you are missing and go and find them. Just because you aren’t getting the applications doesn’t mean that they aren’t out there. If you are still struggling, connect with people that identify with the group that you are missing and ask them for recommendations on how you can get the word out or even a recommendation on a great candidate.

Diversity covers more than color
Many leaders oversimplify diversity to mean strictly race. While race is part of it, it is only part. Also, consider their life stage and personality type. You don’t want just college students or retired people on your team. You want a mix of both so that people can relate and connect with different people groups that come through your doors.

The college student will be able to help the young girl that is dealing with depression and cutting but will find it difficult to connect with a person that is struggling to put their mom in a nursing home. No matter your work situation, having a larger worldview will help you engage with more people on a personal level.

Holding to your standards
My caution to you would be this: Do not lower your standard for the sake of diversity. Studies show that gender makes no significant difference in performance in the workplace. They also show age does not impact the ability to relate to others. Keep your standards high and be on the lookout for that person with a different perspective and life experience. Your team will function with more creativity and innovation and you’ll be able to connect with your guests in a more personal way.

Make a better tomorrow. 

Motivate the Unmotivated

Motivate the Unmotivated

We all run across unmotivated people during our time as leaders. It can be at work, school, or at your home. Let’s look at some ways that we can help those unmotivated to get out of their ruts and become productive.

1. Find the Root Cause
Finding the root cause of the person being motivated is the most important piece of the puzzle. Here are some potential areas to start in.


Help them see the vision of why we do what we do.
It’s understood, but often forgotten, that we don’t communicate the bigger picture to others as much as we think that we do.  They may not be making the connection between what they are doing and how it is impacting the larger goal and picture.  Continue to communicate the vision and how they specifically are a part of making that vision a reality. Helping a person find the meaning in what they do sometimes is enough. We will cover this topic in depth at the turn of the year.


Help them make an emotional connection. 
I may tell you it’s important for us to hit a sales goal so that we can give X amount of money to the local homeless shelter. That may motivate you. What if I took you on a trip to that shelter and you got to meet the moms and children as they got food and water from the center? You’d likely be really invested then. The same idea applies to your leadership. Try to find an emotional connection to link the person to the desired behavior.  I would often take my top and bottom performers on these type of field trips. It rewarded one and pulled at the heartstrings of the other. Don’t worry if you don’t have something as tangible as the example to bring them to. Bring in someone that has been impacted by the work of the group to speak, share success stories, testimonies and other things to show the heart behind the work.


They may not feel valued. 
Another potential cause is that they may not feel valued in their role. Did you get the job instead of them? Do they feel that their work is underappreciated? They may feel that you or the organization cares more about the work they do instead of them as a person. They may feel like they are stuck in their job. The best way to address this one is to be vulnerable and ask the person if they feel valued. You’ll be more likely to get a true answer if you approach with empathy while being humble and curious.


2. Set the Standard and Coach
Once you find the root cause, it’s time to set your standard, coach to it and identify if they are the right fit or not. 


Set clear expectations.
Check in to make sure that they have a clear and proper understanding of what the expectations are. It may be as simple as that they don’t know the expectations or how the expectations apply to their work. Once you communicate the expectation, stick to it. Don’t waiver or compromise. Your standard should be the standard.


Consistent coaching and follow-up.
As you are going through the above steps, it’s important to be consistent in coaching and follow-up. You and your leadership team should be having a continuing conversation until the person consistently exhibits the behaviors you are looking for. I’ve seen some beautiful turnaround stories and all it took was going through the steps and staying consistent on coaching. Lastly, there will be times when that person simply is not in the right place. Don’t settle for subpar performance. Help them find a place that’s a better fit for them.

Help your people find the motivation that they need to be a powerful contributor to the team.


Make a better tomorrow.